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Team Gets Inspirational Talk From Retired Marine General


Mike McCarthy is sure to deliver his share of inspirational speeches during his first year as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

But during training camp, he's having leadership figures from other walks of life inspire his players.

On Wednesday, retired U.S. Marine Corps General Charles C. Krulak spoke to the team for approximately an hour after practice and had the undivided attention of nearly everyone in the room.

Krulak, who served 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, detailed some of the defining moments of his life during two decorated tours in Vietnam.

He described in riveting detail how as a 22-year-old rifle company commander, he witnessed the utmost in selflessness, as a member of his squad made the ultimate sacrifice in the face of machine-gun fire to allow his platoon members to reach safety.

Other actions he recalled in the heat of combat displayed the moral courage and integrity of some of his bravest soldiers and best friends.

Those three elements - selflessness, moral courage and integrity - define character to Krulak, and he concluded with a simple message for the 2006 Packers.

"Talent gets you to the top," Krulak said. "But being a man of character keeps you there."

He also finished to a standing ovation from all the players and coaches.

"Anytime you're able to listen to a war vet tell you what really goes on out there, it's important," center Scott Wells said. "We lead more or less a sheltered life, and we're not exposed to life-or-death situations. To hear him demonstrate what it takes to make it through those situations, it's powerful."

McCarthy plans to have two more inspirational speakers address the team over the next two weeks.

"To have people like General Krulak talk about real life experiences is an opportunity to show how teamwork and sacrifice go beyond what we do on the football field," McCarthy said. "We're building a true team environment and sometimes when you step outside of football, that message has more meaning."

Judging by the players' response, McCarthy is right.

"Some of the stories he had were just amazing, and you don't hear something like that every day," linebacker Ben Taylor said. "It was an honor just to listen to him.

"To hear him talk about what it's like in war time really shows the true meaning of character and what it means to have character."

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